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Topic: OT: Attending film festivals for the aspiring composer?

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  1. #1

    OT: Attending film festivals for the aspiring composer?

    Full bag of demo CDs ... Check.
    Business cards ... Check.
    Big hopes ... Check.

    Are film festivals the place to go look for work, err I mean meet people in the industry? Which one would you recommend for the aspiring film composer?

    RaGe

  2. #2

    Re: OT: Attending film festivals for the aspiring composer?

    Weeeell, kindasorta but not really.

    Firstly, not all directors attend film festivals....it really depends on where they are from and if they feel like making a trip for that special festival (ie. Sundance, yes.....Malibu Film Fest....hmmm probably not).

    Secondly, most of the directors are there because they obviously have a finished film which includes a score, so unless the music is simply awful (in which case, do you really want to work with a director who thought the crappy music was just fine) you're bound to run into directors who have already a good working relationship with a composer.

    Thirdly, the directors that are there, are generally pretty overwhelmed with interviews, post-screening Q&A's, and of course their friends and families who are there to support them. Makes it difficult to grab their attention for more than a few seconds. With most of them, info goes in one ear and out the other....so then you're relying on them not misplacing your demo with the other crapola that they generally get at those things.

    So there....go and have fun but don't expect too much out of it.

    One last thing...the best way to make the most out of a festival networking thing is if your work will be shown and if it happens to kick ~~~. There's nothing better to be at a festival where the film your scored is one of the centerpieces. Then you can really maximize the chances of someone going to the director and saying "who did your music?" and the director replying "he's over here, let me introduce you"
    >>Kays
    http://www.musicbykays.com
    Music Composition for Feature Films, Television and Interactive Entertainment

  3. #3
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: OT: Attending film festivals for the aspiring composer?

    Quote Originally Posted by midphase
    the best way to make the most out of a festival networking thing is if your work will be shown and if it happens to kick ~~~. There's nothing better to be at a festival where the film your scored is one of the centerpieces. Then you can really maximize the chances of someone going to the director and saying "who did your music?" and the director replying "he's over here, let me introduce you"
    This is true. Except, twenty-five people will be all excited about your music and want your card, and three will actually contact you...

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: OT: Attending film festivals for the aspiring composer?

    I can only speak for myself and my own experience, but I have done pretty well at staying in work. My advice is to never "aspire." Don't "look." Do. Make a little film yourself, or put some work out on the market. Do anything that ISN'T a demo.

    Kays is 100% correct about what goes on at festivals. Everybody is scrambling every minute of the day, and the last thing someone with a film on the festival wants to do is lose valuable glad-handing time talking to someone with a CD demo. They're busy promoting the hell out of their film. Unless you have a film on the festival, it's not going to be a great place to network.

    I am now at a place in my life where people are constantly trying to hand me demos. Truth? I don't listen to them 99% of the time. They're almost irrelevant, and that's not to say anything negative about someone's artistry. A demo just doesn't explain anything except that a person can create some music. There's collaborative ability (and worth), pressure, originality, capability of working from scratch, all sorts of other things to consider.

    So, I'm back to the basic advice. Whatever you do, don't "aspire." Find a filmmaker at the same level as you, and get to work.

  5. #5

    Re: OT: Attending film festivals for the aspiring composer?

    I think Kays and Bruce have nailed it.

    I have found that the culture of film festivals is about the look and acting of the film rathern than the music or sound design. Also, as Kays has stated, the film is in the 'can'; it's done. There may be a few films that have un liscensed stuff or placement stuffs, but the chances of connecting with the producer of that project is slim

    I mean it's not a total loss to go but aim more to get a number, learn about production companies in your area, figure out who the players are, but don't expect a gig. People at festivals are there to sell their film.
    Sincerely,


    Jonathan
    www.hollandaudio.com

  6. #6

    Re: OT: Attending film festivals for the aspiring composer?

    Then again it's good to get out and try to network. I agree, don't go to the fests "aspiring" to find your first feature to score. Don't sell yourself here. Go to support the industry and see what is happening - see some good films. Bring business cards, but leave the CDs at home. No own wants to carry a bulky CD around. Show a sincere interest in the works and try to exchange cards. That way you can follow up a week or so later. Leave a nice email message if you saw the director's film. You never know if the director is not satisfied with the current situation ("It took the composer 6 weeks to give me 5 minutes of music.") and doesn't know any other composers; or is just using "temp" music.

    I found my first film gig this way. By chance I sat in front of the director at his screening. We exchanged cards. Immediately following the fest he called me because his film found a distributor but he needed to lose the temp score. I've scored his every film since then plus made other contacts through him which led to more quality work.

    The festival circuit isn't the best place to peddle yourself, but you can't sit around waiting for the work to find you. Get out and meet people. Other filmmakers attend besides those screening. Meet other people beside those who have a film there. You might meet 100 and can follow up on only 25 to find the one that actually pans out. Especially when you start out it's an odds game and you have to meet (LOTS of) people.

    Like any other job search, It's tiring, frustrating, and often unproductive - but you have to put your name out there because no one is looking for you! It may take months or even years for a good ($$$ ) contact to pan out, but it can't happen if they don't know about you.

    Many city and state/province film offices offer networking events for their local industry. This is a better chance to talk one on one and to hand out your demo to filmmakers actually looking for a composer. This is a more productive effort than a festival.

    However you do it - get away from the computer screen occasionally and meet some people in the industry.

  7. #7

    Re: OT: Attending film festivals for the aspiring composer?

    Wow great advice by everyone. I kinda suspected that festivals were more of an occasion to network and "be part" of this industry, I am sure attending some of them will provide a great outlook nonetheless.

    It seems hooking up with a local film school is also a good way to get a start.

    Thanks again for your input.

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